If you’re like the majority of people, taking a holiday, business trip or weekend mini-break means healthy eating habits fly out the window, exercise schedules are put on hold and alcohol intake cops a major increase. Even if this doesn’t sound like you, long haul flights, extended layovers at international airports and lack of sleep can mean unhealthy airport food, unappealing plane meals and hours on end spent sitting down. There is hope though – it doesn’t have to be this way.
I don’t remember the last time I ate something at an airport. I don’t know what it is, but the total lack of healthy eating options at airports, both domestic and international, continues to baffle me. If someone is in need of a business idea, there is serious money to be made in setting up healthy outlets for travellers. I would be there with bells on! Despite the overwhelming lack of options at airports however, it is extremely easy to come prepared.
As a general rule (depending on the length of your flight), always say no to meals offered on planes. They are filled to the brim with salt, sugar, preservatives and other crap to make them last as long as they have to. When you really turn your mind to it, do you want long-life milk, re-heated meat and soggy vegetables in your body? I hate to think how long ago that meat was killed and those vegetables picked.
Secondly, remember to hydrate like your life depends on it. The cabin air inside planes is extremely dehydrating and this wreaks havoc both on your internal system and your skin, hair and nails.
Below are some easy tips both for short and long flights that make the flight healthier and easier on our bodies:
Domestic or short flights
- Depending on the length of the flight, either fast or pack fresh fruit to snack on.
- Drink loads of water. Don’t be shy to ask the hostess for multiple re-fills.
- Politely decline the mega-sized muffin/biscuit/cake on offer. If you really need something sweet, pack a few squares of dark chocolate.
- Avoid alcohol. There is simply no need.
- Stretch your legs every now and then. All those glasses of water serve a second purpose also!
Long haul flights
These bad boys take a bit more preparation but it is well worth it. I try to exercise prior to a long flight for two reasons – one: it means I don’t feel as bad sitting on my butt for all those hours and two, it tires me out. Other tips:
- Pack your own meals and snacks to the extent you can. Great snacks include fresh fruit, fresh chopped vegetables (carrots and celery are great), avocados (you can eat them with a spoon as a snack), nuts and seeds, trail mix, sachets of nut butter, air popped popcorn, goji berries, kale chips, roasted chickpeas, dark chocolate etc.
- Meals can include pre-bought salads or bring your own sandwich or wrap.
- Try to eat meals according to the time zone of your destination. You don’t want to eat your last meal of the day at dinner time in Australia when it is 6.00am in your destination country. This throws your body’s internal hunger mechanisms out.
- Pack your own herbal tea bags then simply ask the hostess for a cup of boiling water.
- Pack a re-usable water bottle (make sure it is empty when you go through security). You can then ask the hostess to keep refilling that, instead of only getting one glass of water at a time.
- Avoid alcohol – this one is a no-brainer. Who needs to feel even more dehydrated?
- Sleep! Try to avoid prescription sleeping pills. If you do need a relaxant, try taking Melatonin. Melatonin can sometimes be difficult to find but your best bet is the health food shop or a chemist.
- Pack small sachets of vitamins. I personally love Vital Greens. You can buy it in individual sachets. Simply mix with water and you have all your green veggie goodness in a drink!
- Move. Try to get up every hour, even if you have to climb over the person next to you. Although the toilet cubicle is tiny, you can do a set of squats or two in there, which helps to awaken and lengthen the muscles.
The above tips all contribute to you stepping off the plane at your end destination feeling less bloated, more radiant and more energised.